Moore Case Analysis
1. Gather all relevant factual information
Moore has hairy-cell leukemia. He agreed to have a splenectomy done. The operation was done on October 20, 1976. Dr. Golde and research Quan took a sample from Moore’s spleen and sent it to a research unit. Moore was unaware of the research, and it did not have any relation to Moore’s medical care. In August, Golde found a cell line from Moore’s T-lymphocytes. Regan applied for a patent of the cell line in 1981. The patent was issued on March 20, 1984, terming Quan and Golde as the cell line’s inventors and the Regents as the assignee.
2. Identify the ethical issues.
Lack of respect in keeping the patient’s information secure. (confidentiality)
The Doctor wanted to benefit economically from the patient’s condition
The use of the patient’s sample for the physician’s interest without seeking permission from the patient.
3. Consider what right relationships require & what leads to human flourishing.
A right relationship requires the physician to be honest with the patient. The sole objective of a physician should be to help improve the patient’s health. If the physician wants to use the patient’s sample in any research, they should be informed. Trust, honesty, and rapport flourish relationships and help maintain human beings’ health.
4. Brainstorm possible options
Option A. Dr. Golde would have disclosed to Moore that he would like to take a sample of his spleen to another research unit.
Option B. On discovering the cell unit, Dr. Golde would have involved Moore by including him in the patent.
5. Weigh options and select one
Option A. Dr. Golde would have been honest even before the splenectomy and disclosed to Moore his plans. With this option, Moore would have either accepted or declined the plan depending on how it would benefit him. Therefore, Dr. Moore would have suggested the possible benefit Moore would gain if the research were successful.
Option B. Involving Moore after finding the cell line, his reaction would be unpredictable. He would file a lawsuit and present a case for not being informed before the research was done. Alternatively, he would consider the royalties to come with the patent and approve Dr. Golde’s plan.
Option A is the best option because it does not involve violating trust and it has negligible risks.
6. Evaluate the decision against external and internal criteria
For an ethical profession, option A depicts values and principles.
The option also fosters rapport and excellent patient-physician relations.